Image of the Month - October 2019
Congratulations to students from the Transition Year Astrophysics group from O'Carolan College (via Twitter) who have won our October Image of the Month competition.
The winning image is of the Crab Nebula, also know as Messier 1. We were particularly impressed with the clarity of the background space and stars, you can clearly see the wispy edges of the nebula against the blackness of space.
The crab nebula is the scattered remains of a massive supernova that was recorded back in 1054 AD. Over the past 1,000 years (almost) it has continued to expand into the amazing object that we see today. It is located 6,500 light-years away in the constellation of Taurus. At the centre of the expanding gas cloud is the remnant core of the original star, a super-compressed neutron star that is around 30km in size and spins at an incredible 30 revolutions per second. As it rotates, the star swings an intense beam of radiation towards the Earth, creating a pulsed emission that is detectable in the radio spectrum, and is typical of spinning neutron stars.
You can make your own image of the Crab Nebula by searching our archive for observations.